If you're on the hunt for cheap car insurance, the best strategies include comparing quotes, asking about discounts and -- as much as possible -- keeping a clean driving record and good credit.
Car insurance quotes are always free and easy to get, so comparing rates is a good use of time. Rates can vary dramatically among insurers, and the cheapest car insurance company for someone with a good driving record isn't always the cheapest for someone who has had accidents or claims.
Here's a look at how premiums can vary among insurers. These rates are based on premiums reported by EverQuote users who have good driving records and typical coverage levels.
|Rank||Insurance company||Average annual premium|
|7||Metropolitan Insurance Co.||$1,563|
|9||21st Century Insurance||$1,638|
|20||AAA Insurance/ Auto Club||$1,746|
|Source: EverQuote. See full methodology below.|
Other keys to getting cheap car insurance
Keep a clean driving record
Avoiding accidents, violations and claims whenever possible can pay off at renewal time. That's because all of them can lead to rate increases. EverQuote looked at the difference premiums reported by users with clean driving records vs. those with an accident and found an average increase of 34%.
|Avg. premium for clean driving record||$1,773|
|Avg. premium for driving record with one at-fault accident||$2,379|
|Percent increase due to accident||34%|
Maintain good credit
Did you know that having poor credit can affect your car insurance rates even more than an accident or ticket? Auto insurers say that poor credit correlates to a higher chance someone will make a claim. So they often use "credit-based insurance scores" as a major factor in pricing. The practice is banned in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts.
While improving credit can take months or years, it pays off in multiple ways:
- Cheaper car insurance.
- Better rates on a mortgage.
- Lower rates for car loans.
- Better credit card rates and access to cards with more perks.
Get car insurance discounts
Ask your insurance agent to review the possible discounts a company has, both when you buy a policy and regularly after that.
The discount for bundling home and auto insurance with the same insurer is generally one of the bigger discounts you can get. You can often also bundle auto insurance with renters, condo, mobile home or manufactured home insurance to get cheap car insurance.
Other common discounts include:
- Insuring more than one vehicle with the same company.
- Being a good student or having a student away at school without a car.
- Going paperless by receiving policies and bills electronically.
- Having car-safety features such as airbags and anti-lock brakes.
- Having an anti-theft device such as a car-tracking device.
- Loyalty as a customer over the years.
- Taking a defensive driving class, sometimes offered specifically to drivers age 55 and older.
Choose a vehicle that's cheap to insure
Insurance companies look at the "claims history" of vehicles to help determine rates. If other drivers of your model of car tend to crash a lot or make insurance claims, rates for the vehicle can rise for everyone. Here's a list of the cheapest cars to insure.
Drop collision and comprehensive coverage on older cars
There's no need to pay for insurance that has little potential benefit. That could be the case if you're paying for comprehensive and collision insurance on an older vehicle.
Collision and comprehensive coverage pay for damage to a vehicle for problems like hail, theft, animal collisions and crashes into objects like trees. The most it will pay is the value of the vehicle, minus your deductible. On an older vehicle, that insurance check may not amount to much.
A search for cheap car insurance is good to do on a regular basis. Auto insurance companies change their rates frequently so spending some time getting quotes can be worth it.
Methodology for average premiums: Premiums were reported by EverQuote users, based on policies with 100/300/50 in liability insurance and 100/300 in uninsured motorist coverage. Rates are based on single vehicles with one driver who has a good driving record with no violations. Premiums for sedans, coupes and hatchbacks were averaged. Premiums are based on expenditures reported between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2018. Your own rates will be different.
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